You never know when one small decision will change the course of your whole life. Some might call it a coincidence. Others would call it an act of God.
On May 16, 1998, Azita Milanian’s friends invited her to go out dancing. She thought about it for a bit, but decided to go jogging with her dogs instead.
That one small decision would turn out to be life-changing.
As Azita jogged in the foothills near her Pasadena, California, home, one of her dogs suddenly stopped and started digging in the dirt. Curious, Azita went over to see what he was doing, and what she found left her cold.
There, sticking out of the dirt, were two tiny feet. Just seconds later, she heard a cry and realized a baby had been buried in the dirt alive! He was just barely clinging on to life.
“Please don’t die,” Azita pleaded. “I will never leave you. I love you.”
Azita scooped up the baby who had been wrapped in a towel.
“He grabbed my wrist and stopped crying,” she said. “It was very emotional. What kind of sick human would do something like that? He still had his umbilical cord hanging from his stomach.”
The baby was rushed to the hospital where he was given immediate medical attention. His body temperature had dropped dangerously low, but miraculously he survived.
A search was organized and rewards were offered for tips leading to the identity of the mother, but they never found who had abandoned the little boy.
At one point an anonymous woman called to see what charges would be leveled against the mother and what would happen to the baby, but she never identified herself as the mother. Police believe she may have been an underage girl who was scared and panicked, but they will never know for sure.
Azita felt an incredible bond with the baby hospital staff affectionately called Baby Christian. She considered adopting him, but she was worried that the case had become too public and he wouldn’t be safe with her. She kept up with his progress as long as she could, but soon he was adopted and she was no longer able to check up on him.
“I was hoping that he would find me, the same way we found each other that day,” she said.
After he was adopted, the little boy was renamed Matthew Whitaker. He grew up never knowing he was adopted.
It was only when he was 17 that Matthew even found out he had been adopted. He wouldn’t learn the whole story until even later.
When a radio show asked Matthew if he would like to take a DNA test and get the results live on air, he agreed.
As the producers researched his story, they learned about Azita’s role in Matthew’s rescue and invited her to the studio too.
The reunion was emotional, but also a joyous one. Azita was happy to see how well Matthew was doing and was able to get closure after so many years of wondering what had happened to the little boy she had saved.
Matthew now calls Azita his “angel.”
Though his start in life was a rough and horrific one, Matthew says he is actually thankful for what happened because it allowed him to be adopted into a loving family.
“I’m here today. I’ve lived a great life. I was adopted into a great family,” he said. “I couldn’t ask my parents for any more.”
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